Sunday 25 September 2016

Levi Roots thought he was 'rubbish' during Dragons' Den pitch

Published 17/07/2016 | 00:06

Levi Roots successfully pitched his Reggae Reggae Sauce to the Dragons
Levi Roots successfully pitched his Reggae Reggae Sauce to the Dragons

Levi Roots has said he is scared to re-watch his Dragons' Den pitch because he was "rubbish".

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The Jamaican-born businessman shot to success after appearing on the programme in 2007 to seek investment in his product, Reggae Reggae Sauce.

Roots began the pitch by singing his Reggae Reggae Sauce song and playing the guitar, bemusing the judges.

He came under scrutiny for his questionable maths, but managed to secure £50,000 from Dragons Peter Jones and Richard Farleigh in return for 20% of his business each.

The entrepreneur and musician told host Kirsty Young on BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs: "I thought I was quite rubbish in the Dragons' Den myself, personally.

"I'm scared to look at the programme now and see how rubbish I really was.

"But I do always say, even if you are rubbish, you've got to be you, because people always are invested in who you are.

"And perhaps if I did get all my numbers right and I was all flash and everything like that, I wouldn't have got the investments."

The 58-year-old reggae singer had been selling his sauce at Notting Hill Carnival before he was approached to audition for the BBC Two show.

Dragons' Den transformed his jerk sauce into a multi-million pound business.

Roots, who was born Keith Graham, moved to the UK when he was 10 years old and later spent time in prison after a drugs and firearms conviction.

Looking back on growing up in South London, he said: "I remember terrible housing, I remember lack of jobs, I remember a police state.

"Most importantly, I remember the SAS laws, stop and search, which was a scourge to all black boys and girls, because you didn't have to do anything to get in trouble or for the police to be intrusive and stop and search you, and hence whatever you said, you could spend a night in a police prison."

Roots's song choices included Stevie Wonder's Master Blaster (Jammin'), Dionne Warwick's Walk On By, and Bob Marley's War.

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